My grandfather had made us each one but mine was better.
Mine was white with gold inlay in the head peice. He had handcarved the dowels that held the chair together. It was beautiful. My brothers' was black and shiny with a flat back. Mine was much prettier and it rocked perfectly. Terrys' leaned to the right and if you rocked long enough you would eventually end up moving in a complete circle. Like a boat with one oar. We had been in possession of the chairs less than a week when the idea struck me.
“C’mon Ter, don’t be such a chicken! I told you, you won’t get hurt! I promise. It can't fail.”
“You always say that. It always fails and I always get hurt!”
“Terry, you get hurt because you are too uptight and afraid to take chances. You have to loosen up. I’m telling you, you will be fine.”
"That's easy for you to say."
Terry was always so squirly. As soon as I would present one of my ideas he would begin to sweat. This time was going to be different. I could feel it.
We were on top of our long staircase. Terry was tied to a rocking chair with a jump rope with the promise of a thrilling ski trip down the stairs. I assured him he would be fine. It appeared to be aerodynamically perfect. A smooth ride, one I would be inclined to duplicate for myself after a successful run at ole Terry’s expense. To this day I am unclear why the jump rope was needed.I assumed it was a precaution, like a seatbelt. He would say that it had something to do with me needing to chase him down prior to my experiment and his thrill ride. I have no specific recollection of that.
I did have his well being in mind. Let’s face it he didn’t have much else going for him. He was small with a black front tooth, from a prior “experiment”. And if you ask me he was too shy for his own good. Maybe this would be a way to wake him up inside. I was tired of watching him, entranced, staring at cartoons all day. My mother said not everyone was in need of finding trouble and that I should leave him be. Shouldn’t he want to try to be more adventurous? Well I decided that want had nothing to do with it. I was doing him a favor. He’d thank me for this one day.
“If I said no would you let me go?”
“No. You’ll love it. You’ll see. You can thank me when it’s over.”
“Just like I thanked you for my black tooth? Just hurry up.”
Terry squeezed his eyes shut and held on for dear life. I gently pushed the rocking chair down the stairs. It was just as I had planned. It glided down the first few stairs flawlessly. Then it happened. The hole in my master plan, the hiccup. The landing. I was familiar with it, played on it, set up tents, put on nearly Broadway bound shows and now it stood to undermine a perfect plan. Terry hit the landing. The rocking chair stopped abruptly and promptly lurched forward, head first, down the remaining stairs. Being tied, for his own good, prevented him from any kind of self defense.
He hit the bottom hard and screamed bloody murder. My parents, their company, and a neighbor, all came running. I stood at the top of the stairs looking incredulous.
“Terry, what are you doing?” I asked.
Why I thought anyone would believe he tied himself to a chair and threw him self down the stairs was beyond me. But I was desperate. I was sent to my room. A fate worse than death. I was up there forever. I was used to it. I spent a lot of time in my room. I can’t imagine why.
Finally I heard someone coming up the stairs. It was Terry with an ice pack on his forehead.
“Sorry, Ter. I really thought it was going to work.”
“Well, it would have worked if it wasn’t for that stupid landing.”
“Ya know, there is no landing at the Shompsky’s house. We could...”
Terry shut the door behind him. I never did realized my skiing chair dream. Thanks for nothing, Ter.